“This transfer will improve the Secret Service’s ability to carry out its integrated, dual mission of protection and investigations,” deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement. “It provides Treasury with a well-established enforcement capability to better protect the nation’s financial infrastructure and payment systems. The move is supported by the current and most recent Secret Service Directors as well as former Presidents of both parties, and we look forward to its introduction and eventual passage.”
The transition would require congressional action.
The Secret Service was a part of the Treasury until 2003, where it had been for more than a century.
As part of the Homeland Security Act, following the Sept. 11 terror attacks, it was moved to the Department of Homeland Security.
A source familiar with the negotiations told FOX Business that in 2019 the outgoing Secret Service director, Randolph Alles, concluded that returning the agency to the Treasury was in the best interest of both departments. Incoming Secret Service director James Murray continued those conversations.
The administration’s view is that the return would enhance Treasury’s efficiency and effectiveness in investigating cyber-enabled financial crimes and bolster its national security efforts, the source said. The administration has engaged lawmakers who have agreed that if the Secret Service thinks it’s the best move, then it is something they too can support.
The move back to the financial side makes sense when the roots of the elite agency are considered.
The agency was founded in 1865 to fight the counterfeiting of U.S. currency that was taking place at the time. Shortly thereafter, it was also tasked with looking into people perpetrating fraud against the government.
In the early 20th century, the agency was tasked with protective missions following the assassination of President William McKinley, who was the third sitting president to be assassinated.
According to a June report from The New York Times, senior officials from the Department of Homeland Security have pushed back against the shift because they are concerned about losing its cybersecurity and investigative expertise – but high-ranking Secret Service officials have welcomed interest from the Treasury.
Today, the Secret Service’s mission includes both protecting national leaders and visiting foreign dignitaries while also securing the nation’s financial infrastructure through financial and cybercrime investigations.
The agency has offices across the globe, including in Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.